Monday, August 14, 2006

Oregonian Working for Roche

In some really lousy medical journalism, Nancy Dow of The Oregonian wrote a July 12th article on Sally Field and the osteoporosis drug Boniva. Dow completely failed to mention that Sally Field is sponsored by Roche Theraupetics, the manufacturer of Boniva. (Gary Schwitzer pointed this out on his blog a few days after the article came out.) Dow gives her readers the impression that Sally Field is just another happy customer of the drug, selflessly singing its praises. I have a message into the Chandler Chico Agency, who handles PR for Boniva, asking how much Field was paid to endorse Boniva.

Dow also fails to note the side effects of Boniva (all drugs have side effects), which can include damage to the esophagus, muscle pain, joint aches, and low-grade fever, including jaw necrosis--death of jaw bone tissue. There's no mention of any clinical trials that prove the efficacy of Boniva, or anything that gives the reader a sense of how Boniva compares to other potential therapies, including the other drugs on the market, Fosamax and Actonel.

She had the opportunity to write an article that dove into the evidence and laid the entire story out for her readers, but Dow and The Oregonian chose instead to write a nice unpaid advertisement for Roche. I'm sure the company is very grateful.


Anonymous said...

Uh, this is a Q & A. The kind of celebrity interviews are usually harmless, even helpful if it gets some people to pay attention to a disease. Still, the fact that the reporter didn't mention that Field was a company spokesman is a glaring oversite. And it would have been nice if the reporter had done a quick round-up of the drug's know side-effects.

gömlek said...